COVID-19 information for aGES

covid19ages.pngThe Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences remains dedicated to supporting the campus population.

We are actively practicing social distancing, which means we remain open for business but we are limiting the number of students, faculty and staff in the department. At this time, we are currently working to provide assistance virtually with limited on site personnel or by phone or email. Please contact our office  by emailing Lauri Miller ( or Bill Anderson ( or by calling the office (828.262.3049) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

About Our Programs

The Appalachian State University Geological and Environmental Sciences Department (aGES) provides students with a solid foundation on which to build a successful career in the geosciences and environmental sciences. We are the largest undergraduate geosciences department in the UNC system, and we have been successful in establishing a program that is arguably among the best Bachelor degree programs in earth and environmental sciences available in the southeastern United States.

At aGES, we offer the following degree programs and concentrations:


See our What should I major in? page to determine if our programs are right for you!

See Get Involved! for opportunities for aGES students in research, outreach, and teaching.

What should I major in?

"I want to study environmental science but I hate math and science!"

"Isn't geology just about rocks?"

"Do I need an environmental science or geology degree for the job I want?"

Many students come into our program a bit confused as to what the geosciences and environmental sciences actually are.  Click here for a detailed explanation between the different degree tracks within the geosciences and environmental sciences here at Appalachian. This page will help guide you to the degree track that is right for you - either in this department or in a different department.

If you're not yet sure you want to major in Geology or Environmental Science, take one (or more) of our many General Education classes - learn about water resources, environmental cleanup, dinosaurs, oceanography, natural disasters, energy resources, fossils, and of course... rocks.  According to Slate, "Introductory Geology classes are the best science electives" and we certainly agree!

Ask A Geologist

You've got questions? We've got answers!  Ask A Geologist!

Did you find something that puzzled you in your backyard or on top of a mountain? Have questions about local environmental problems? Want to know about what's going on in Boone Creek, the Watauga River, and the New River? Concerned about fracking in your region? Do you have a mineral that you can't identify? Think you found a meteorite? We will do our best to answer any geological/environmental question. We also have pages that answer some of our most frequently asked questions.

What's so special about our department?

We study more than just rocks.

Geology is about more than just rocks.

Environmental Science is about more than just ecology, policy, or regulations.

What is Geology?

Our faculty have expertise in all fields of the Earth and Environmental sciences.

Click on our each of our research programs below to see what we do!


How does the earth move?


Tectonics Research Group:


What processes affect water supply and quality?

researchers in river

Hydrology and Environmental Geology Research Group:


What do fossils tell us?

bone microscopy image

Paleontology Research Group:


What do landforms tell us? How do humans influence landscapes?

Surface processes

Surface Processes Research Group


What do the minerals in rocks tell us? What is the role they play in the environment?

mineral microscopy image

Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry Research Group:


How is Earth's climate recorded in minerals, rocks, sediment, water, and ice? How has climate changed through time?

Records of Climate Change

Records of Climate Change Research Group:


Latest News

Archie the Aetosaur is now at home in the Rock Garden

In 2016, faculty in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences  and the Department of Art collaborated on a sculpture of Gorgetosuch...

GES welcomes Dr Christine Hendren, new RIEEE director and professor

The Department is pleased to announce the arrival of a new faculty member! Dr Christine Ogilvie Hendren joined GES in August 2020 and will serve as Di...

GES '15 Alumn Develops Interferogram of Sparta Earthquake

Hugh Harper is a 2015 graduate of the GES Quatitative Geoscience program and is currently making us proud as a PhD candidate at Scripps Institute of O...

Commemoration for Dr B. Charlotte Schreiber, former GES affiliate faculty

We are saddened to hear that Dr  B. Charlotte Schreiber, former GES affiliate faculty, has passed away. Over the course of her life, Dr Schreiber...

Shake shake shake! The Sparta, NC magnitude 5.1 earthquake info is here!

If you were anywhere in North Carolina or Virginia on the morning of August 9th, there's a good chance you experienced a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. Alt...